I’m currently in Poland, ‘studying’ at Szkoła Główna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego, better known as Warsaw University of Life Sciences. Most of the courses I wanted to take were cancelled at the last moment, so I now follow a lot of small courses (most of them 3 ECTS): Critical thinking, theory of democracy, social change and the environment, the human body in contemporary culture, principles of management, human resource management, entrepreneurship for tourism, marketing and sustainable business.
Erasmus life is awesome. It seems as if teachers don’t expect from Erasmus students. Late in class because you went partying the night before? That’s fine, vodka is integration. Skipped class because you went on a trip? Totally understandable, Warsaw is not that interesting. Even if you get caught while cheating on a test you could try to argue this no-cheating-rule is a ‘cultural difference’ and you just aren’t integrated yet (because you still buy beer instead of vodka). Most of my courses are not so challenging, some aren’t because the teacher doesn’t seem to take it very seriously and some aren’t because it’s just not a subject that has my main interest.
I may not learn that much during the classes, but I do generate some interesting insights. Once we had a discussion about problems in governmental organizations. The first word my Indian friend said about this was ‘corruption’. I disagreed strongly, but then the Russian and Chinese were shocked that I didn’t think of that. In their countries this is totally normal and a realistic problem and they thought I was so naïve because this ‘must happen in the Netherlands as well’. I still don’t know whether I’m naïve or just right, but I know for sure our worldviews differ big-time.
Daily life here is pretty much like backpacking. Not only because of the trips I take every weekend (To Vienna, Prague, Krakow, Wroclaw, Budapest, Berlin etc), the hitch-hiking, the lack of money (where is my scholarship?) and absence of clean clothes (something with sharing a washing machine with 600 people), but mainly because life in the dorms is similar to that in a hostel.
The university is located pretty far from the city center, that’s one of the reasons why students here decide to live in the dorms on the campus. I share my room with another girl, I have to wear flip-flops always everywhere because the ground is to dirty, my food in the fridge gets stolen, I have to bring my own toilet paper to the toilet, and then there is the snoring roommate who wakes you up, which is still better than the sexual active roommate, or that one with the accordion.. The kitchen is shared with 110 people and there is always some party going on. Then there also is the receptionist with whom most students have a love/hate relationship because he/she provides you with information (…in Polish) and opens the front door for you in the middle of the night but also breaks up your kitchen party at 22.00 and runs randomly into your room to tell you you really have to clean now (at least, that’s what I think they say..)
So I’m really having a great time here. Warsaw is a pretty cool city, especially during Christmas; they take that extremely seriously. I’ve never seen so much Christmas lights/songs/trees in my life. I may not enjoy the courses so much here, but on the other hand… I get private classes and I’m allowed to make movies instead of writing exams:) Don’t think that will ever happen in Wageningen. I’m enjoying the parties, the everything-here-is cheap-rule, the other nationalities, especially their food yes, and the exploration of Poland and the rest of the world.
Written by: Eva
p.s Mega thanks Luc for your amazing amateuristic photographing skills